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Conservation Authorities

The Government of Ontario betrayed the people of Ontario in favour of bad developers with the Passage of Schedule 6 on December 8, 2020.

Ottawa River © Monteregina CC_BY-NC-SA-2

Conservation Authorities Under Fire

The government ignored a deafening chorus of expert warnings, to instead reward the worst developers and land speculators by incapacitating the system that protects source water and guards Ontarians against flooding, landslides and other environmental disasters.

Members of the Greenbelt Council, non-partisan regulators, legal analysts, municipalities, NGOs and farmers, together with tens of thousands of Ontarians of all political stripes and walks of life, have warned the government of the dire consequences of “Schedule 6” amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act. These changes will let developers dump, build and excavate largely unchecked in high-risk areas, risking impaired water quality, property damage, and environmental degradation, and endangering public safety across the province.

© Ryan McGilchrist CC BY-SA 2.0

What We Are Doing

  • Applying pressure on MPPs and Premier about Conservation Authorities;
  • Working with other organizations through coalitions including the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, Yours to Protect and with several farm organizations;
  • Holding the government to account when it pursues environmental deregulation and skirts the democratic process;
  • Organizing grassroots opposition to senseless environmental deregulation and ant-democratic measures; and
  • Raising awareness about the value of Conservation Authorities.
Laurel Creek Conservation Area © Carl Hiebert / Grand River Conservation Authority

What You Can Do

  • Register for our joint webinar on January 12 about protecting our environmental future that will address MZOs and Conservation Authorities among other things;
  • Sign our Minister’s Zoning Order Action Alert as those orders can be used to circumvent Conservation Authorities;
  • Call or write to your MPPs; and
  • Donate to support our Conservation Authority campaign.
© Hamilton Conservation Authority


CAs’ role in planning decisions must be maintained

The CAs’ role in planning decisions under the Planning Act and the Environmental Assessment Act ensure that developments do not result in changes to the floodplain and natural heritage that would put communities at risk from flooding.

The Flood Advisor’s report showed strong support for the conservation authority model in protecting Ontario from the impacts of climate change. This model only works if CAs have the regulatory power necessary to intervene in planning decisions and development applications.

Rideau River flood © Stephen CC BY-ND-NC 2.0


CAs’ role in monitoring needs to be maintained and supported

Watershed-scale monitoring programs are necessary for delivery of “core” programs regarding flood mitigation, natural hazards, and drinking water source protection.

Additionally, they hold significant value in delivering broader environmental protections including land conservation, biodiversity conservation, water quality protection, and ecological restoration.

Grand River monitoring © Michael Wynia

Community Projects

CAs should continue to play a key role in delivering community projects in partnership with municipalities and local organizations

CAs partner with local environmental and conservation groups, farmers, and their communities to deliver regionally significant projects including rehabilitating natural heritage, implementing agricultural best practices, and restoring or creating wetlands.

They often provide match funding, in addition to on-the-ground expertise.

© Grand River Conservation Authority


The watershed approach of CAs must be preserved

CAs operate at the watershed scale, providing a much-valued bridge across jurisdictional boundaries to understand and address environmental concerns, including flooding.

CAs conduct watershed-scale monitoring, data collection, modelling and assessments. They are ideally positioned to develop watershed strategies and encourage decision-making at that scale. They support watershed-wide activities including stewardship, communication, outreach and education.

Mission Island Marsh Conservation Area © Conservation Ontario


This letter, endorsed by 112 organizations, was sent to Premier Ford on April 29, 2020. The organizations call on the Government of Ontario to retain the current mandate of the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities in protecting, restoring and managing the watersheds.

Hilton Falls Conservation Area © Joe deSousa